Winter Camping In A Yurt With Kids ~ A Unique Family Trip Idea
Last year, I took my then 6-year-old, 4-year-old and 18-month-old on a winter camping trip – by myself. My husband was unable to get away from our business and the idea of camping in a yurt in the middle of winter did not appeal to him in the least. He tried to convince me otherwise, but once he realized I had set my mind to it, he just shrugged and wished us a good time. Smart man!
Our trip was unlike anything I had ever done before and being the rookie that I was, we decided to camp at Windy Lake, a nearby provincial park only 1 1/2 hours from our home. Once we arrived and picked up our keys, we parked outside the provincial park, loaded up our sleds with our food, pots, pans and bedding to a yurt located in the middle of the park/forest. It took a good 10-15 minutes to reach our site and I wasn’t pleased when I realized that I had left something in the car!
The building is of course – heated and our unit was equipped with two bunk beds. There is no washroom, it’s basically a structured, heated tent. It was warmer than I had originally anticipated, toasty even! Our yurt was across from the outhouse, so we didn’t have to walk too far to use the washroom. My kids were a little hesitant about using an outdoor toilet in the middle of the winter, but started to warm up to the idea when we brought out the flashlights for evening trips across the street. There’s something about a flashlight and the dark starry night that gets everyone a little excited!
The beds were very comfortable and we stayed warm all night long. During the day, we had the choice to go for adventure walks, discovering the park along the way, or take advantage of the cross country skiing available on-site. There’s no television, no radio, no electronic devices – just you, your kids and nature! I did bring some colouring and reading books for evening entertainment, which proved to be a smart move considering that it started to get dark around 6 p.m.
Each yurt came with its own barbecue, so we were able to cook our meals and enjoy them while sitting on the deck. For the first night, I made vegetable rotini with sweet cherry tomatoes, broccoli, garlic and olive oil, using the ingredients that I had brought beforehand. Yum!
We missed our showers and there was no way for me to bathe the kids during our stay, so when we did return home, everyone was thrilled with the idea of a hot bath!
Would I camp in a yurt again? You better believe it! I just booked a trip yesterday for next month’s adventure! If you are thinking about camping in a yurt with your own kids, here are 5 tips you should make note of.
1. Book ahead
Make your reservation well in advance. Yurts are becoming more and more popular, so there’s a chance that a last minute getaway won’t work, depending on your closest provincial park.
2. Bring lots of water
If you’re planning on boiling water for meals, tea, hot cocoa or washing dishes, you’re going to need a lot of water! There is no running water inside the yurt and the pipes outside are frozen, so be sure to bring enough to last you during your stay!
You’d be surprised at how long periods of time spent outside builds up your appetite! I brought quite a few snacks for our trip and they were completely gone after the first day, so don’t skimp out on the snacks!
4. Bring your phone charger
Your phone is the only thing you’ll have to keep you in touch with the world. Our yurt was equipped with electricity, so I was able to charge my phone during our stay.
5. Clean up
Bring your own garbage bags and clean as you go! The last thing you want is for bears or other animals to get into your things!